Valley View grad battling for starting job with Zips

Kyle Pohl remains the No. 1 quarterback for the University of Akron football team. But it’s no longer a one-horse race.

Pohl, a Valley View High School graduate and redshirt sophomore with the Zips, was the clear leader during spring practice. Now former Colorado quarterback Nick Hirschman has entered the mix.

Hirschman was in the running to be the Buffaloes’ starter this season, but received his degree in the spring and opted to come to Akron.

“No promises, no guarantees, but a chance to compete,” Zips coach Terry Bowden said Tuesday during Mid-American Conference Media Day at Ford Field. “I do feel that he does have a chance to compete a little more strongly with Kyle Pohl and let the younger guys develop.”

Williams threw for 3,387 yards and 25 touchdowns last season as a redshirt senior, with the Zips going 1-11 in Bowden’s first year at the helm. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound Pohl was the backup, converting 38 of 58 passes for 366 yards and five TDs.

Hirschman, who earned his CU degree in three years and has two seasons of eligibility remaining, played in eight games in 2012. The 6-4, 230-pound native of Los Gatos, Calif., completed 55 of 93 passes for 589 yards, notching two touchdowns and seven interceptions.

“Kyle Pohl is No. 1 because he earned that, but everybody needs competition,” Bowden said. “Kyle’s had a great summer. He’s the one that organizes the summer throwing. I think he knows somebody’s come in that wants to take his position.”

Minutemen marching on: Massachusetts is beginning its second season in the Football Bowl Subdivision after going 1-11 last year. The Minutemen, who defeated Akron 22-14 for their lone 2012 win, are the media's pick to finish last in the MAC East Division this season.

“It means zero to me, but if you based it on where we were a year ago, that’s exactly where we should be picked,” UMass coach Charley Molnar said.

Massachusetts is playing its home games at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, while its campus stadium is being renovated. The Minutemen averaged just under 11,000 fans at Gillette in 2012.

“It grows slowly, but it grows,” Molnar said when asked about support for the program. “I’d like a tidal wave of support to come in, but realistically, why would it and why should it? We’ll have to earn every bit of respect that we get.”